UNION members have expressed their shock and anger after the vice-chancellor of one of the UK’s largest universities, London Metropolitan, announced over 150 job cuts.
In a public meeting (28 April), members from the London Met University and College Union (UCU) and Unison claimed that the proposed cuts would have a devastating affect on the university’s future.
The meeting at London Met was called after the announcement last month that there were to be 165 compulsory redundancies for both academic staff and professional service departments.
Speaking at the meeting, President of the University and College Union (UCU), Liz Lawrence called on members to vote for industrial action. She said: “If you believe in defending education – it is really important to defend universities like London Met because these are the universities that make education available to wider sections of the population.”
London Met Student and National Union of Students Executive, Aaron Kiely, labelled the cuts as a direct attack on education. He vowed that the NUS would be supporting staff and would help defend those jobs at risk. He said: ‘There has to be an alternative. What kind of future can come from repeated rounds of job cuts?
‘Whatever industrial action the UCU and Unison decide to take, the NUS will be there with you all the way, we will fight this together,’ he added.
Union members will now vote by ballot on whether to take industrial action or not. The result is expected to be announced mid May. The feeling amongst union members present at the meeting was that strike action was ‘highly likely’.
In an online open-letter, a coalition of unions urged London Met’s board of governors to ditch it’s current strategy of ‘weakening the university’ and asked them to join staff and students in ‘developing a plan for growth’.
To sign the petition please visit: https://www.change.org/p/london-met-uni-no-more-jobs-cuts-stop-the-spiral-of-decline